The people running B.C.’s capital city are hoping higher levels of government will act on pleas to camp down on no-fault evictions and improve rental opportunities for British Columbians.
Victoria councillors ratified a resolution on June 22 that will be considered at the Union of BC Municipalities Conference, taking place in Vancouver later this year.
The resolution asks the province to explore ways to rapidly increase the rental stock, at least in major urban centres, and especially for those in core housing need.
It calls for that to be done through legislation that would enable a rapid and significant increase in the approvals, construction and supply of rentals in areas near transit, active transportation infrastructure and community destinations.
The resolution also hopes to mitigate no-fault evictions by giving the Residential Tenancy Branch more resources, investigating rent increases, increasing compensation owed to tenants and regulating price increases between tenancies.
The province has so far ignored a request Victoria made last year to clamp down on landlords who drastically boost the rent rate before a new tenant moves into a space. Such increases between tenancies remain an unregulated part of the market as Victoria and other B.C. cities continue to post some of the country’s most expensive rents.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that someone moving into an average Greater Victoria two-bedroom apartment in 2022 would pay 33 per cent more in rent than what a tenant in an occupied unit of the same building was paying.
The city also wants B.C. to close the gap between households in core housing need and current rental costs through income support or boosting existing rental assistance programs.
A household in core housing need lives in an unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable dwelling and cannot afford an alternative in their community. The most recent census found just over 13 per cent of British Columbians live in core housing need.